2023 Summer Camps Series
Ross Point focus is God, fun, adventure, relationships
Integrating faith into everyday activities, conversations and free time, as well as sports, arts, Bible studies and worship at camp, hopefully sets up patterns so when youth and families go home they will integrate faith into their lives, said John Batchelder, executive director of Ross Point Camp and Conference Center on the Spokane River at Post Falls.
"Integrating faith happens through the day, because we have trained staff to make it happen," he said.
Ross Point holds three weeks of youth camps and a week of family camp at its camp run by the American Baptist Churches of the Northwest.
Ross Point programs focus on God, adventure, safety, fun and relationship building in a setting for engaging, encouraging and equipping campers through "Christ-centered hospitality."
The theme for 2023 youth and family camps is "A Sacrifice of Praise" based on Hebrews 13:13.
Those camps are led by volunteer directors who organize the programs "based on what God puts on their hearts," John said.
"Clear about who we are, what we stand for and what we believe, our camp is also used by other groups all year," he said, adding that nondenominational churches that cannot afford their own camp, other Christian and Jewish, as well as community and nonprofit groups use Ross Point.
During the summer, most of the campers are youth, but the rest of the year most are adults.
"We are a conference ministry, retreat ministry and youth ministry with cabins and basic motel-style rooms for adults," John said. "Many like our proximity to the freeway. Those coming leave the freeway, drive through a neighborhood, turn onto the grounds, drive a quarter mile and are in the isolation of the camp."
He noted that while the hotel-motel industry seeks to operate at 60 percent occupancy, Ross Point usually has 20 percent occupancy.
"Occupancy is not our primary purpose. Our purpose is to introduce people to Jesus and help them grow in faith," he said.
John estimates that 80 percent of the finances for the camp and conference center are from non-summer usage, which helps keep costs for a week of summer camp low for youth camps. Some churches provide camperships and Ross Point has some funds for scholarships, so more than half of the actual cost is covered by that.
John found his call into camp ministry while traveling with a Christian youth group from 1977 to 1983 after a year of college. He met his wife in that group and they returned to Utah where he grew up. Then he served camps in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Western Washington and Alaska before coming to Ross Point in 2001.
"Camp is an opportunity for people to remove themselves from their everyday lives to be reinvigorated to go back to their lives," he said. "Camp is not an end but a means. Camp is not the church but a means to provide fellowship and introduce youth to churches in the area," he said.
Emerging from the COVID times, John sees people have been longing for getting together to experience again belonging to a larger family of faith.
"At camp, people live temporarily in community with people they have not necessarily known or chosen to be with. Living in cabins and spending time all day together, they build new relationships," he said. "Some are lifelong relationships, leading to marriage, family and coming back to camp with their children."
For information, call 208-773-1655 or visit rosspoint.org.